September 4, 2004

Kerry's late night speech.

I've been trying to capture a clip of John Kerry giving that late night speech after the convention closed on Thursday. I wrote about the NYT article about the speech and made fun of the Times's characterization of the speech as "roaring," so I really wanted to see some actually footage of the event. Why aren't we seeing it? Did he look too ridiculous? I TiVo'd hours of news analysis shows on three cable news networks on Friday, and no one had any film of it.

Anyway, I was just looking for the text of his remarks, which I didn't find, but I did find an additional quote from the speech that struck me:
"With two months to go, the choice could not be more clear," the statement continued. "A president who sides with the special interests or the Kerry-Edwards team who will put middle-class families first."

When and why did we start assuming that government should "put middle-class families first"? Why not children? Why not lower class people who would like to make it into the middle class? Or is "put middle-class families first" now what politicians say to oppose those they accuse of putting the "wealthiest Americans" first when they are afraid of making of voters worry that tax money will be channeled to the underprivileged? (And it's always "families" now. Has anyone ever heard a politician offer to lift a finger for single people?)

UPDATE: There is streaming video of the event at the C-Span website. So now I've watched it. Kerry seems looser than usual, grinning happily in the beginning. Words here and there are dropped and some words are garbled. At least twice he says "our guntry" for "our country," and he says "I dink" for "I think," and "attack" for "the fact." He refers to "the sunset goin' down"--not to be confused with the sunset goin' up. It's late at night and he may be quite tired. But it's not especially embarrassing. It's not that exciting either. It's a long speech that is basically the stump speech, punched up a few times with references to the Republican Convention. These references are what the press has excerpted and printed in the articles. There's a large banner behind him that reads "A Stronger America Begins at Home." A tad isolationist for my taste. He calls this "the most important election of a lifetime," which of course it is for him, but I'm tired of hearing that assertion. There are plenty of important elections, and it's a distortion to assume the one closest to you is so much bigger than the ones farther away.

The event begins and ends with the blaring of Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender": "Well, we busted out of class, had to get away from those fools/We learned more from a three minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school." Is there a more anti-education song this side of "School's Out" and "Another Brick in the Wall"? I guess he doesn't want to be the Education President. And why would you blast the lyric "had to get away from those fools" just as the two candidates are walking out on stage? Anyway, here's a quiz that made me think up:

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Sunday NYT has a funny collection of old quotes making the "most important election" assertion. The truest quote comes from George W. Bush. Asked by Larry King whether this is "the most important election ever," Bush said "For me it is."

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The correct answer to the poll is discussed here.

No comments: